1 Timothy 4:12 Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.
Paul challenges Timothy to live an exemplary life, even though his youth might be despised by others. Paul teaches that maturity and leadership do not require grey hairs but rather exemplary conduct.
People don’t expect much from young people. Honestly, young leaders are usually assumed to be hot-headed, over-privileged and under qualified people. For the most part, that is right. Therefore, knowing this, Paul calls Timothy to change the negative stigma of young leaders in the church culture. How? By preaching against it? No. By scolding those who do it? No. By boycotting the older and judgmental generation? No. Instead Paul says, prove them wrong by living an exemplary life in all areas. The best way to break the stigma is to live a life that proves the stigma wrong.
A few things…
-As I age as a leader, I’m not the youngest in the room anymore. I must not assume that those younger than me are more immature or less serious about the mission. I must allow a culture in which young leaders can grow and take the reigns in areas of ministry that require it.
-I must not assume that my age or experience equals maturity. It is easy to get lazy and trust in my experience instead of the power of the Holy Spirit. I must stay humble as I lead.
-My speech, conduct, love, faith and purity are precious. I must not be careless and allow these areas to slip. I am called to lead people to obey Christ in each of these areas. My leadership will be limited to my level of obedience in these areas.
Father I am grateful you gave me the chance to lead at a young age. Thank you for men who believed in me and invested in me when others blew me off. May I lead well and allow younger leaders to rise up and lead in the church for your glory. May I never be insecure of younger leaders but instead know when to pass the torch as Paul did.